Delta Air Lines blasted for downgrading K-pop star from first class to economy without refund
US carrier Delta Air Lines is being skewered online after it downgraded, without even refunding, South Korean actor and K-pop star Hyeri from first class to economy.
Hyeri, a member of the K-pop band Girl’s Day, described her experience in an Instagram post on Thursday as “absurd”, and many of those who reacted to it called Delta out for supposedly singling her out for a downgrade because she is Asian.
Hyeri said she booked her first-class ticket for a flight from Los Angeles to New York more than a month ago, and so was taken aback when she was suddenly told she would have to sit in the economy section.
“The only option that they offered me was to either fly economy at the price of a first-class ticket or to walk away and wait for the next flight. Beware everybody,” she said.
She added that she tried complaining to the airline’s representatives.
“I wanted to say many things, but couldn’t express them properly. At that moment, I thought I should have studied English harder. What an absurd experience,” she said.
Delta issued a statement on Friday to explain that Hyeri was asked to give up her first-class seat because it had to switch to a smaller aircraft over safety concerns.
“Usually, in these instances, we ask if passengers would like to fly on the next flight in which first-class seats are available. If passengers choose to sit in economy, we refund the difference in price,” the airline said.
It added that it was reaching out to Hyeri regarding a refund.
Delta said the selection of customers who were moved from first class to economy seating was random, but it did not specify how many passengers were downgraded and why they were picked.
That has failed to appease Hyeri’s fans.
“Fly economy but pay first class?? Is this even legal? They should at least refund her!” WangtanBoys said in a post on the website allkpop.
In a Reddit forum thread, Fearless-Cheshire remarked: “It’s messed up to not only downgrade her seat without letting her know beforehand until she got there. But to not even give a refund of the downgrade is wild.”
US airlines have recently been slammed for overbooking flights during peak travel periods.
In April 2020, a Korean-American woman sued Delta after she was allegedly removed from a first-class cabin due to overbooking.
She claimed in her lawsuit that she was forced to move to economy to accommodate a white passenger.